Archery Talent Prevails Despite High Winds at Arizona Cup
PHOENIX – Overheard at the Arizona Cup:
“How do you shoot in weather like this?”
“Point and pray.”
The AAE Arizona Cup – a World Ranking Event and the first US
Archery Team (USAT) Qualifier for 2014 – was shot under mostly sunny skies and
calm winds – until Sunday.
With gusts in the vicinity of 15-20 miles per hour, upsets
and surprises ruled the day. After qualifying rounds that ranked many of the
world’s best archers exactly where they should have finished, and a day of team
rounds that gave fans a preview of this year’s World Cup action, the elimination
rounds threw everyone a curveball.
As archers advanced through head-to-head matches, the wind
first became evident in the compound women’s scores: for example, Pascale
Lebecque, one of France’s top archers, came up with a 123 to advance to the
1/16th – a score almost unheard of in a division that regularly sees
match scores in the low to mid 140s (out of a possible 150).
As the wind continued to pick up, brackets saw serious
upheaval in the 1/16th and 1/8th rounds: Sonia Taniguchi
(USA), ranked 18th for compound women, stopped 2nd seed
Jamie Van Natta in a tiebreaker. For recurve men, 29th seed Andrew
Matteo (USA) knocked out 4th seed Juan Rene Serrano (MEX), heavily
favored as a medal contender. Chris
Webster (USA), ranked 27th, overcame 3-time Olympic medalist Marco
Galiazzo (ITA), 6-2.
On the recurve women’s side, Mackenzie Brown (USA), ranked
17th, edged out number one seed Ana Maria Rendon (COL). Finally, Paralympic
medalist Matt Stutzman (USA), ranked 41st, stopped 9th
seed Roberto Hernandez (ESA) in the compound men’s group.
As the field narrowed, the archers who shot their way to the
windy semifinals proved they deserved to be there.
For the recurve men, USA’s Brady Ellison had the comeback of
the event, showing that home court advantage matters. Facing a tough opponent
in Italy’s Luca Melotto, Ellison started out with a 0-2 deficit that quickly
turned into a 1-5 match. Fighting his way back, Ellison won the fourth set
outright, then forced a 5-5 tie which he won in a one arrow shoot off.
In the bronze medal match, it was Team USA’s Jeremiah Cusick
who clinched a 6-4 win, showing considerable skill in his match versus Velez,
who ended in fourth.
Brown was steady throughout her matches, shooting tight
groups to clinch her spot in the gold medal final, where she met Olympian
Alejandra Valencia. Though she left the first set to chance, Brown came back to
tie the second set and win the third and fourth outright. With a 1-1 tie on the
final set, Brown won the gold medal, giving Valencia the silver.
The recurve women’s bronze medal matchup proved to be a win
for Olympic veteran Jennifer Hardy (USA), who won in a perfect one-arrow
shoot-off versus Mexico’s Gina Gonzalez.
There were a few notable absences on the compound women’s
side. USA’s Christie Colin had an early exit in the 1/16th to
Colombia’s Maja Marcen, while American teammate and world no. 1 Erika Jones was
edged out of the quarterfinals by 1 point to Sara Lopez (COL).
France’s Sophie Dodemont faced Lopez for the gold medal, and
these two archers shot strong scores despite the wind. It was a close contest,
but ultimately Dodemont prevailed for the gold, winning 147-145 versus silver
The sole U.S. archer remaining in the compound women’s group
was Angela Bradley, who faced Mexico’s Linda Ochoa for bronze. It was a
decisive victory for Ochoa, who started out strong and finished with a 143-136
The compound men’s gold medal matchup was a smackdown
between world no. 2 ranked Braden Gellenthien and Bridger Deaton, both from
Team USA. Gellenthien was perfect for the first two ends, and dropped only
three points over the course of the match, clinching the win 147-144 against
Deaton, who earned silver.
Mexico’s Mario Cardoso was the winner of the compound men’s
bronze medal match, shooting a 143 to Rodger Willett, Jr.’s 140 to clinch the
Cadet archers also shot the same format, with qualifications
followed by elimination rounds. In the cadet compound women’s category, Allie
Blazek (USA) was the gold medalist, followed by Carolina Estrada (MEX) with
silver and Ana Vazquez (MEX) with bronze. For the cadet compound men, Kevin
Clayton (USA) took the gold medal; Jimmy Bell (USA) claimed silver, while Jose
Del Bosque (MEX) won bronze.
On the recurve side, Amanda Tamayo (USA) won gold in the
cadet women’s category over Eliana Claps (USA), who earned silver; Alice
Buswell (USA) claimed the bronze medal win. For the recurve cadet men, it was
Humberto Arellano (MEX) winning gold; silver went to Ji Dam Lee (USA), while
Gabriel Perez (MEX) won bronze.
Tomorrow, para archers will participate in elimination round matchplay; placements will be used for the para world ranking.
Visit http://ianseo.net/Details.php?toId=536 for complete results; photos can be found on USA Archery's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/usaarchery. The action picks up again starting May 9 with the Gator Cup, the next USAT Qualifier Series Event.